To change your life, you need to change your thinking. But how do you do that? In this blog post, I’ll share one of the most profound ways to slightly adjust your mindset, which can yield powerful results!
New Thinking… New Results
Life is full of challenges and adversity. Even the people who seem the most successful have faced massive challenges. So why do some succeed where others struggle? I believe that one of the biggest differences is in how you think about your circumstances.
Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “If you want to change your life, you need to change your thinking.” I heard that too and I was skeptical at first but I’ve since come ‘round to realize how true it is. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear HOW to change your thinking. Well, I’m going to give you one change to make in your thinking and you’ll discover how powerful this truly can be.
No matter what you aspire to do, your success or failure will be largely influenced by how you see the world. And in my experience, people tend to see the world as full of problems… or full of opportunities.
Problem-Focused Thinkers: Problem-focused thinkers focus on why something won’t work or can’t work. They assume the situation is negative and working against them. They focus on the painful consequences of the situation. Problem-focused people feel a lot of stress and get caught up in the negativity, and they often get bogged down or stopped in their tracks because of the challenges.
Opportunity-Focused Thinkers: Opportunity-focused thinkers focus on why something will work or can work. They assume that there is a benefit or lesson contained in even the most daunting situation… even if that benefit or lesson is currently hidden from them. They focus on what they’ll gain or achieve at the end. Opportunity-focused people tend to get excited about the situation and can’t wait to take action to move forward.
Which type do you tend to be?
Here’s a simple test to find out:
What happens when you get a flat tire on the way to an important meeting? What happens when you have a disagreement with your spouse moments before company comes over? What happens when an investment fails? What happens when a colleague gets angry at you because you dropped the ball?
Perhaps you tend to be a problem-focused thinker all the time, or an opportunity-focused thinker all the time; most likely, the majority of us are problem-focused some of the time and opportunity-focused other times.
There Are Opportunities Everywhere
There are opportunities EVERYWHERE and the treasure of those opportunities will be awarded only to those who see them.
- Opportunities to learn something new that you didn’t know before (to ensure the situation never repeats itself)
- Opportunities to profit from a circumstance that, perhaps, you didn’t think could be profitable
- Opportunities to meet people who can help you
Consider this very simple example: you’re driving to an important meeting and you get a flat tire. Problem-focused thinkers would get stressed and angry at how they’ve missed an important meeting. Opportunity-focused thinkers might consider any of the following possibilities: maybe that meeting wasn’t going to be as good as you thought; maybe a person who stops to help you fix your tire will turn out to be a better connection; maybe you can show up late to your meeting, covered in dirt, and show that you have resiliency to overcome problems; maybe you can call the location of your meeting, apologize for the delay, and everything will turn out fine.
There are many options that I haven’t even thought of… but none of them would be possible if you focused on the problem.
Not all situations will result in a windfall of opportunities, and not all opportunities will pan out… but doesn’t opportunity-thinking seem like a better way to live?
How To Become An Opportunity-Focused Thinker
Here’s how we can all become opportunity-focused thinkers a little more often:
- Recognize that your situation is not new. Many others have faced the same thing and many have overcome, even when the circumstances seemed overwhelmingly difficult.
- This is important: ask yourself what lessons might be gained from this situation and what benefits might be derived. Ultimately, figure out how you can come out of the situation a better person than you were when the situation occurred. There’s always some way to improve your situation and yourself – and it’s important that you figure out what that way is and then take action on it.
- As much as possible, act to conclude the situation as efficiently as possible (although I recognize that not everyone can accelerate the circumstances).
- After the situation has concluded, reflect on the positive aspects of where you came from and how you’ve evolved and improved. Intentionally think about these improvements as building blocks that make YOU a better person who can handle whatever the future will throw at you.
Look For The Opportunities
Opportunity-focused thinkers get more done, overcome more trials, and enjoy life more. Switch the track of your thinking, stop focusing on the problem, and start focusing on the opportunity in EVERY situation.